What am I getting for my money?” is a common though often unspoken question that your clients are asking. We all evaluate the value to be received as part of our decision to buy, buy again, or even to refer. Adding value is creating a situation where the client receives a greater value for the money they are spending. You can add value in many ways. I’ve developed a series of questions that will guide you in developing an overall approach for achieving your goal of adding value. The questions are important in that they require you to honestly assess your current situation and then address two very real concerns:
- What’s getting in the way of your client’s ability to perceive increased value?
- What would “value” be for your client?
Assessing the Current Situation:
- What is the value I am currently providing?
(e.g., bridges and crowns, tax preparations, spinal adjustments, contract reviews, therapy session, personal attention, custom reports, etc.)
- Does my service have factors that distract from this value?
(clients kept waiting, slow response time, late filings, disregard of client’s pain or preferences, pushing your own agenda, poorly trained employees, low or no technology, etc.)
Addressing the Distracters:
- Which of the distracters can I turn into an opportunity to add value?
- What do I need to do to eliminate the distracters that are true negatives?
Here’s an example:
A poorly trained, slow staff member may respond inappropriately to questions, make costly mistakes, slow down the pace of the office, or cause re-work or other problems.
A highly trained, productive staff member is a resource not only to you and the efficiency of your practice, but also to your clients in the form of accurate answers, ability to educate [as appropriate], or even the ability to provide services you don’t currently offer. And, since your client doesn’t want to spend their day at your office, a staff member whose work pace is appropriate is providing a desired value to the client.
Let’s take that a step further and add a staff member who is highly trained AND responsive, outgoing and informative. They add value in a way that benefits both the client and the practice.
Example: A dental hygienist who not only explains to the patient what he/she is doing but also uses a mirror and educates the patient on how to maintain clean, healthy teeth at home, allows the patient to do a “return demonstration”, and then explains the “why” behind the importance of returning for another cleaning in six months.
It may be that you have identified a few distracters that are not acceptable, and they cannot be turned into something of value. In this case, take steps to eliminate them as soon as you reasonably can, and don’t fool yourself into thinking that they don’t matter. Just because a client or patient doesn’t mention something does not mean it wasn’t noticed.
- How can I enhance the value I already provide?
- What would my clients perceive as added value to the services that I provide?
The best way to know what your clients will perceive as added value is to ask. You can do a formal survey, or you can just ask them during their next appointment. The answers may surprise you. You’ll find opportunities to add value across the board, as well as unique opportunities to add value for certain clients/situations.
Here are some real life examples from what some of my clients are doing. Use them to trigger ideas on how you might add value to the services that you provide.
- Annual luncheon with all clients that includes a presentation on trends and issues
- Free Brown Bag Lunch N’ Learn sessions for the client’s staff members – quarterly
- Access to white papers – complimentary
- Gift certificates given annually that they can pass along to friends or family members
- Informative/educational website
- Cards sent for birthdays and anniversaries, including anniversary of being a client
- Very educational newsletter (printed and mailed) with content that helps clients achieve their goals
- Occasional extra time in the session
- Expert office assistant who can handle routine items so fast it’s always complimented by the client
- After-care calls made the evening of the day service was provided
- Complimentary consultation – for the first session, as an introduction, annually, etc.
- New patient forms mailed to the home prior to the first visit – an option offered to the patient to give them real time to accurately complete them – if they wish to do so before arriving
- Recommended reading list
- After-hours appointments for unusual situations or emergencies (true emergencies, not routine)
- Flowers on the birth of a child, grandchild, or a marriage
- Recommendations and/or referrals to true experts who deliver a quality service
- Traditional give-aways: toothbrushes and paste, calendars, planners, calculators, mouse pads, post-it notes, coffee mugs, etc.
- Increasing your own level of expertise so that the services you provide have more value because you can provide more depth.